Borussia Dortmund are hoping to push for yet another positive start to the campaign when they visit Bavaria to face FC Augsburg on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund will brace themselves for their first away fixture in the new edition of the Bundesliga when they travel to WWK Arena to face FC Augsburg on Saturday.
The Black and Yellows kickstarted their 2020/21 campaign with a thumping 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. However, they often look sluggish away from home, especially against a counter-attacking team, and with Bayern Munich in a sizzling run of form, a win could be imperative for Lucien Favre’s men.
The Swiss mastermind is already facing an uncertain future at Dortmund, with this being the last year of his contract. Failing to secure a single major trophy could likely result in his departure come the end of the season.
Augsburg, meanwhile, also started the campaign well, sealing a comfortable 3-1 victory over Union Berlin in the opening fixture. Although the Bavarians are mainly looking to just survive the wrath of relegation, they cannot afford to let clubs like Dortmund steamroll past them, so it won’t be surprising to see Heiko Herrlich’s men coming up with a more aggressive approach.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will be taking a look at both the sides ahead of this important clash in the Bundesliga this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Augsburg have done extremely well to polish their attacking unit that boasts the services of players like Florian Niederlechner, Daniel Caligiuri and Ruben Vargas. They also have Alfred Finnbogason, though the Iceland international is unlikely to get the nod ahead of Niederlechner or Michael Gregoritsch, in the number nine role.
The introduction of the five sub rule has greatly helped Herrlich to provide more freshness in the attack, with the ex-Leverkusen boss likely to use the likes of Finnbogason, Andre Hahn and Fredrik Jensen in the latter stages of the game. They could cause real problems for the Dortmund defence.
In midfield, Herrlich is likely to persist with the two enforcers in Carlos Gruezo and Rani Khedira. New signing Tobias Strobl is a potential alternative, should the Augsburg coach opt for a more defensive approach, which could see Gregoritsch being sacrificed with either Niederlechner or Finnbogason leading the line.
Meanwhile, in defence, last summer signing Iago has slotted in nicely at left-back, as the desired replacement for Philipp Max. He is likely to retain his place in the starting lineup, with Raphael Framberger featuring on the opposite flank.
In central defence, new signing Felix Uduokhai could once again get the nod ahead of the robust Marek Suchy. The ex-Wolfsburg star should form the central defensive pair alongside captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, with the duo covering Rafal Gikiewicz in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gikiewicz; Framberger, Uduokhai, Gouweleeuw, Iago; Caligiuri, Khedira, Gruezo, Vargas; Gregoritsch, Niederlechner
Favre was dealt with a massive blow last weekend as key player Thorgan Hazard picked up a knock. He joins Lukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer, Nico Schulz and Dan-Axel Zagadou in Dortmund’s list of potential injury-related absentees this weekend.
Raphael Guerreiro is a doubt heading into this fixture, and the club has to make a late decision of his involvement against Augsburg. And given his lack of game-time this summer, we might once again get to see academy product Felix Passlack starting at left wing-back, although Guerreiro may feature late on, as a substitute.
Thomas Meunier, meanwhile, is a guaranteed starter on the right flank, with Dortmund unlikely to make any changes to the back three of Manuel Akanji, Emre Can and Mats Hummels. The defensive trifecta will cover Roman Burki in goal.
In midfield, Jude Bellingham was one of the best performers of Bundesliga Matchday 1. The Englishman, therefore, is likely to retain his place in the side, ahead of Thomas Delaney and Mahmoud Dahoud. He could feature alongside Axel Witsel in the double-pivot.
Favre has a selection dilemma in the attack, with Marco Reus and Julian Brandt both fit and ready to play. Unfortunately, those two might once again have to settle for a place on the bench as Dortmund are likely to continue with the in-form Giovanni Reyna while Jadon Sancho is a guaranteed starter on the right. They will provide support to lone striker Erling Haaland, who scored twice in the last game.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Akanji, Hummels, Can; Meunier, Bellingham, Witsel, Passlack; Sancho, Haaland, Reyna
- Augsburg have conceded more Bundesliga goals against Dortmund (48) than any other Bundesliga club.
- Herrlich spent nine years at Dortmund as a player, winning two Bundesliga titles.
- Gregoritsch, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Schalke, ended a run of 13 Bundesliga matches without a goal last time out. It was his first league strike for Augsburg since 11 May 2019.
- Dortmund beat Augsburg 5-1 at home and 5-3 away last season.
- Haaland came off the bench to score a 20-minute hat-trick in the latter fixture. He was 19 at the time, and still ranks as the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score three times in one match.
Player to Watch
— Borussen ✍🏼 (@BorussenEdits) September 19, 2020
Many experts predict that this is going to be the season for Giovanni Reyna and his performance against Borussia Monchengladbach was enough to prove that.
Starting ahead of established stars like Reus and Brandt, the American whizkid made quite an impact with his quick-feet and brilliant vision. His link-up play and seemingly telepathic understanding with the likes of Bellingham and Sancho made life difficult for the Gladbach defenders.
Augsburg could face a similar treatment this weekend if they fail to prevent Reyna from influencing the game. They must keep a close eye on the attacker, who became the 11th youngest scorer in Bundesliga history with his effort against Gladbach, aged 17 years, ten months and six days. He is indeed a star in the making.
FC Augsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
This is not a difficult game to predict, at least from a tactical perspective, as Augsburg are likely to defend deep with their two banks of four. However, the mighty Dortmund attack might prove to be too much for the Die Fuggerstadter, and hence, we expect the Black and Yellows to seal a comfortable 2-0 victory this weekend.